Professional balloon twister Schaivon Nevings shares his journey of finding joy and walking in his authentic self as God’s creation.
When you’re called upon to bring joy to people, it’s sometimes easy to forget that finding joy for yourself is also a deep responsibility to yourself and to God. Schaivon Nevings brings people joy for a living. But one time he found himself in doubt. He found himself questioning if he’s showing up too much. That’s when he called on God, and God told him to walk in his authentic self no matter what room he is in. Schaivon tells that story and the powerful lessons he learned from it as he sits with Brett Snodgrass in this episode of Iron Deep Podcast. Join them and learn what blessings await you when you show up authentically as God created you!
I have my buddy Schaivon Nevings on the show with me. We're going to be talking about what it's like to walk in your authentic self no matter what room you're in. Let's go.
I got Schaivon Nevings. What's going on, Schaivon?
What's up? How are you doing?
I'm doing fantastic. Thank you so much for being on the show, my brother from another mother.
I am honored to be here.
I'm looking forward to this episode because I know we've gotten to know each other over the past couple of years and we've done a lot of things together. We've done a couple of retreats together. That's how I met Schaivon. I met him at a men's retreat called Revel in Colorado. That's where we first met. Since then, we've gotten to know each other. We've leaned on each other, prayed together, and had accountability.
We've done some accountability things together. He went to Guatemala with us. If you guys know, we've done some mission trips to Guatemala. Schaivon went down there with his balloons and brought so much joy to these kids. There you go. Bob's Balloons is in the house. He brought so much joy to these children. We serve orphans down in Guatemala and brought so much joy there. Schaivon, I want to dig in. This show is about joy because I know your identity is wrapped around bringing people joy.
That's what you do for a living. You work with a company that brings people joy, but let's start back. When I see you, you bring me a lot of joy and you live in the present moment, but when I first met you, even though I could see the outside of Schaivon and you again brought joy and a lot of life to all of your surroundings in your environment, you were at one of your lowest points. Take us back to when we first met and take us on this journey of where you were back then.
When we met, that was one of the lowest points in my life. I was having a lot of spiritual warfare within me. I had a lot of joy. I thought I did, but it was starting to wear out. When we met, I felt like I had none in there, but my identity statement is that I cause joy. I created it and so, I felt like that was a burden in my life for some reason.
When I wanted to have joyous or be, I felt like I was talking too much or maybe I was being too outgoing or I was causing people to get out of their comfort zone. I thought that that was a problem, and I now know that that was God's spiritual gift that he's given me. Me blocking that was me blocking the blessings that God gave me to give to the world like, “You are a blessing to be a blessing.”
It is realizing that and getting grounded and learning that it's okay to be my authentic self 100% of the time and that I'm not too much. I'm not too outgoing and things like that because I have been created by God to do this, to just give joy. That's what I do in almost every aspect of my life. I love that. When we met, that was one of the lowest points.
Let's go back there. Let me talk about Schaivon. Schaivon has owned a lot of businesses. Now, he works with a company called A1 Entertainment. He does balloon twisting, which as we talked about that. He went down to Guatemala. He does a lot of that for a living. He brings joy to children, number one. If you ever meet Schaivon, he emulates that. He has a very outgoing personality. It has so much fun. He lives in the present moment.
I even said to you this. I think I brought you to the side. I was like, “I wish that I could live so much in the present.” That's why I love bringing you on these retreats that we're doing because you help men start to live out that youthfulness to live in the present. A lot of men have forgotten that. Would you say so? Talk about that a little bit.
It's like I can see it. I see that everyone has it in them and they have that urge to want to let that shield down, but for some reason, it's like the same similar battle that I had with myself. “What will people think of me? What will become of this? Will I still be taken seriously as an entrepreneur? Am I too casual?” It is to let that guard completely down. Hopefully, you can attest to this, Brett, that no matter the room that I am in, I am my 100% self.
That is so freeing to be able to walk into any room and not worry about your perception because you are God’s. You already belong to the father. That's the foundation that I stand on. This world is a tough world. There are a lot of things going on. There are a lot of disagreements back and forth, but to be able to continue to cause joy in a world full of hell, that's a warrior. This is a spiritual battle on earth.
Something profound there is beyond joy, you started to walk in your authentic self. It happens to be bringing people joy. For people reading, if we can help inspire and encourage them to walk in their authentic selves and be radically honest, no matter what room they're in because a lot of these people reading this are in different types of rooms. Even though I myself have found myself acting differently, talking differently, or boasting about something depending on what crowd or room I'm in. Is that something that God has given you that you learn to walk in? You're right.
I've seen you in an environment in Guatemala, for example, with kids. I've seen you in that type of environment. I invited you to my son's birthday party. I've seen you in that type of environment, but I've also seen you in an environment surrounded by 40 to 56 years old business owner men. I've seen you in that type of environment walking in your authentic self. What would you say to encourage people out there with your own story about that walking in your authenticity?
The one thing I can say is that you're going to feel it within yourself to try to fight against that, but it is if you can let go. The foundation of that is understanding, not who you are but whose you are and who you belong to because if you know that your foundation is within Christ, honestly, it makes it so much easier. We’re called to love one another in a world full of hate. When you can do that, it is so easy. It’s easier to be quiet than it is to be active. You got to be comfortable in being uncomfortable because that's your true self.
When you want to make a funny comment or when you want to joke around, go for it and be yourself and watch how you'll be better. People can see your authenticity. They can see if like, “He's being real. He's just talking in this professional tone. They're only saying this because of that.” It is to not worry about any of that because they're going to talk regardless.
People are going to talk, but it is to know where you are and being comfortable where you are. By any means, I'm not a millionaire with all the things. I don't know so many properties or anything like that, but at the end of the day, it's about whose you are. It's about loving one another. One of the things I say is I work hard and I love along the way.
There is a thing like two people winning on a business. If we can do that and continue to love and let our guard down and be our authentic selves, then we'll find ourselves helping people beyond what we thought they needed. It's that inside feeling. Some people gravitate towards you. I don't believe it's my love. It's the love of God that is giving me that. You push that out, and that will attract people to you. That's how you get the deals. You don't get the deals by being a snake or slithering. You get it by love, help, and servitude. We're all beggars trying to show another beggar where to find bread.
Amen. I love your metaphors.
I love that. That's awesome.
If you got the cow, don't kill it, just milk it. I'm just kidding. I making things up.
If you're going to fish in a pond, you might as well throw out the pole.
You already know. If you got a balloon, you might as well twist it.
One of the biggest fears, whether men say it or not, is we're always concerned about what people think of us. You mentioned that maybe people had taken things from you, maybe taken that joy from you or you had lost that somewhere and you talked about a couple of things. Maybe you thought that your authentic self was a little bit too much and you were a burden. I heard that. What happened in your life? Did people say things to you? Were there experiences that you felt like, “I am a burden. I'm too much for people. People don't want me around.” What was that like for you?
Many times. It's a battle within my head, like, “Am I talking too much or am I doing things?” I did think that that was the case because every time I'm in the room, I have eyes on me and things like that. I felt like I was continuing to take the spotlight from someone or something like that. Once again, it was the battle within myself. I was telling myself those things. When I ended up being quiet and trying not to be myself and was in a room, sitting down quietly, then people looked over. They're like, “What's wrong? What's going on? Are you okay?”
I'm out of character. I was thinking, “Maybe it's better.” Honestly, sometimes you don't want them. It is weird to say this, but sometimes, people don't want God's gifts. Sometimes you don't want to be the one who talks or is the leader. Some people don't want to be the leader at times. That comes with a lot of responsibility. My mother always said, “You can lead people. Schaivon, you are a leader. Whether you lead them to heaven or hell is your decision. Regardless, you are going to lead people.” To know that you have that gift and you can't do anything about it, you have it. You're going to lead people, but which way are you going to lead them? That's when you lean on the Bible.
I love that. Are you going to lead people to heaven or hell? You're going to be a leader because you were born a leader. You were designed to lead. You're right. Sometimes leadership can be a burden. There's a book out there by Patrick Lencioni. He talks about how leadership can be a burden. If you're a born leader, it can be a burden at times.
Here's a quote from Francis Chan. He says, “The Bible teaches us that true joy is formed in the midst of the most difficult seasons of life.” Back to your joy, one of your lowest points, and felt like maybe a burden in this life, how has your authentic self and coming out and being whose you are been shaped from the most difficult seasons of your life?
That's great. I feel like it's a test. The few weeks have been a pretty rough week as well with my father attempting suicide, my uncle passing, then another close friend passing. It's been a rough week. I fell during construction and my head and my glasses broke, so I'm doing this. It's been rough, but it brings me to Job. When you become your authentic self and when you walk in Christ and try your best to do that, that's when the devil wants to get you. If you're already doing the devil's work, there's no need for him to bother you.
He's like, “Go on.”
“Continue on. I'll give you some old money, baby. Come on. I love that.” When you walk against that grain and you go the road less traveled, that's when you get attacked. Like I said, it brings me to Job when he's a good man of God, then the devil's like, “I bet you I can take it.” He messes around with his circumstances. His cattle and land, everything's getting messed up. He refuses to be out there. He refuses to curse God, then the devil's like, “I bet you I can do it again.” He starts affecting his own body, the sickness.
His wife tells him to just curse God and die. It's intense following Christ, but you have to remain steadfast in that. It's harder than you think. It's a song that I listened to when I was a kid. My mother played it all. It's called Praise Him in Advance by Marvin Sap. A little excerpt goes, “I've had my share of ups and downs, times when there was no one around. God came and spoke these words to me. Praise will confuse the enemy, so I started singing. I started clapping. I started dancing and people were laughing. They knew my problems and they knew my pain, but I knew God would take it away.” That's powerful.
It is being able to praise God in advance. Even now, I can sit and talk about how devastating it is. I'm not saying ignore the feeling of sadness. I did cry. That is a sad moment. I do miss my uncle, but it is to be able to hold and know that you are here. My identity is saying, “I'm here to cause joy. Not to ignore my grief but to give it to God and grieve with him and allow myself to heal while still walking.”
It's a fast explanation, but it's easier said than done when you're down and out. I was talking to you, Brett. We were having a personal conversation. I was telling you my struggles and things like that. I said, “I kept forgetting to dig in my toolbox. We have these tools.” How can I continue to remind myself to use that toolbox in those moments because I found myself in a dark room? Being joyous doesn't mean I'm joyous all the time. I find myself in a dark room with no one. It's not with just me and God, but I had people to lean on. I just did not reach out. I forgot you got to dig in that chest because when you're down and out, you don't think to pray for some reason.
You leaned in. I love what you said about digging into your tool chest. We have resources and people to lean on. We have the word of God that we can lean into. We have worship, and it sounds like you started to lean in. Wherever that peace comes from for you, whether it's the worship, the word of God, or other people speaking into your life, giving you encouragement, pray that you can lean into that.
That's awesome. You talked about Job and his suffering a little bit. Another person, Paul, talks about his joy, even though he was suffering. In Philippians, he was in prison. He was chained and he talks about being joyful because Christ is being preached. He forgot about himself. I want to talk about that a little bit. A lot of times, we're so focused on ourselves that we forget to use the gifts that God has given us for his glory.
It would be such a shame if you didn't use the gift that had God given you because you were so focused on yourself and what other people might say about you for doing that. One of the things I've been digging into is how I can use the gifts maybe God has given me and continue to move forward. When I start thinking about myself, it's not all about me, but I'm like, “What are people going to think of me? I'm not as good as a podcaster as that guy. I'm not as good a speaker as that person. They do that stuff. They do those retreats a lot better than me. Why should I do this?” When I start thinking that way, I take away the gift that God has given me. Is that the same thing for you? Can you talk about that?
Once again, at times, we find ourselves blocking our own gifts within ourselves. They already got it. They’re like, “Brett, people are already doing the retreats, so there's no need.” You end up listening to those. You're taking away what God has placed in your heart like, “No, you are a leader. You are a shepherd. There are other retreats but, Brett, I need this person to come to your retreat for this reason.”
You're saving their life now. You're about to save a marriage because of your retreat. It's not because of yours. It's because God has placed it on you. That is your gift to give to others. Your blessing is not for you. My blessing is not your spiritual gift. It’s not for you. It is for the world. We are just a light. We are supposed to lead God to others and each other. Reconciliation at its finest.
I love that. Your blessing is not for you. Sometimes, I feel like a fish out of water and ice. Being vulnerable for a second, I'm in the business world, but I'm more of a creative mind. I'm more of if you think about sports and fine arts, honestly. I grew up playing sports, but I'm more of a fine arts mind. I'm in the business world, but I'm more into fine arts, creativity, and artistic.
Sometimes I feel like I'm trying to bring those two maybe together. That's some thoughts that I'm feeling around as God made my design. I encourage you as you start to sit back and reflect and pause. How are you designed, and are you walking in that? Again, there is a reminder that Schaivon said your blessing's not for you. I thought that was a great comment. Schaivon, we can wrap up here. Thanks for opening up and bringing so much to this. Any final comments that you want to share with our audience? The thing I've gotten more out of this is encouraging men to keep moving forward into their authentic selves and don't be afraid to do that and they go all in.
If you don't take anything out of this, I pray that they take this. Remember a moment in time when you wanted to do something or there was a dance floor and you wanted to go dance where your wife was sitting there. Take the lead and live your life because we only have one. Grab your wife and dance with her. Take an impromptu to say, “Everyone, get in the car,” and take them to get ice cream. Live your life and cause joy to others. Do those little things that are out of your character. “This wasn't planned, this wasn't that.” Take a breath and try to live your life the best way you can.
I love that. I want to add to that. That was an awesome comment, to take the leap and take the risk to live your life. A lot of times, businessmen will use that, which I agree, take the risk in business and push through it or get it done, but don't sacrifice. Use that same motivation and inspiration in taking your kids out for ice cream or taking your wife dancing or whatever it is. Use it in that way too. Especially, use it for the kingdom. Be bold and keep moving forward. Sometimes, I show up and I do these shows event. I'm like, “I have no idea how this is going to go, but God has placed this in my heart. We're just going to take the risk and roll the dice.”
If you're reading this and you're on your way home, you better stop and get your wife something and say, “Just because.” I'm telling you, just do those things. Thanks for having me, Brett.
Thanks, Schaivon. It's a blast. Guys, make sure you got our website IronDeep.com. We got a couple of events coming up, so check that out. It's a wrap. Schaivon Nevings, thanks, buddy.